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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  October 20, 2014 3:07am-4:01am EDT

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welcome back. with the mid term elections just over two weeks away, debate season has been in full swing. this past week was the political version of march madness. we had confrontations over ebola, president obama, even owe whether a candidate could bring a fan on stage. of course, there was the occasional verbal fist fight. >> 20-count criminal indictment, face the face. >> gentlemen. >> it's ridiculous. >> in a campaign where ad spending is expected to be over $3 billion, one of the last places to catch candidates unscripted is, oddly, on stage. >> i would give president obama a six to seven. >> with the president's job rating sit at or below 40% in the senate battleground states,
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it's easy to for get he's not on the ballot. >> under the obama prior xhnd. >> senator hagan voted with president obama -- >> the task, running from the president without alienating his voters. >> i disagree with the president. we need to build the keystone pipeline. >> when he gives the green light despite americans -- >> why are you reluctant to give an answer on whether or not you voted for president obama? >> bill, there's no reluck tansy. this is a matter of principal. >> not all republicans are eager to embrace their party label either. >> when it came to the violence against women act, i stood against my party. >> even the republican party's leader in the senate, mitch mcconnell said this week he wants to repeal healthcare reform but not kentucky's popular state-based healthcare exchange. it's obamacare by another name. >> you would support the
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continuation of kinect? >> it's a state decision. it's fine. i think it's fine to have a website, yeah. >> as voters tune out, campaigns are now trying to get their attention by turning to the politics of fear. >> ladies and gentlemen, we have an ebola outbreak. we have bad actors that can come across the border. >> this all goes back to isis, ebola and the other problems that we see on the border. >> candidates are sharpening their attacks. >> he would be the only senator that from his own words has built a can a year around outsourcing american jobs. that is not -- >> they fine tune the art of the back handed compliment. >> he did go to harvard and certainly we're proud of that. i know he probably couldn't get into the university of arkansas. we get that. >> i would like each candidate to say something nice about your opponent. >> you are very well dressed opponent. i admire your accumulation of
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wealth. >> as campaigns haggle over every detate from the numbe and format of debates, to that electric fan down in florida, the unforgettable moment can happen when a candidate just doesn't show up. >> we have been told that governor scott will not be participating in this debate. >> or sometimes when a few too many candidates do show. >> you are uncivilized. >> oh, vermont. stephanie, you have been a debate prepper for years. what have you seen in the debates that makes you either feel bert for the democrats that you think maybe you will survive this? >> i think that democrats are holding their own in these debates. that's because basically republicans are like one trick ponies. insert the name and then obama. >> 2006 it was insert the name. insert bush. >> what is proving to be ue is that this election hasn't been
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nationalized. time and time again in many of these debates, many that you showed, it's more about local issues. look at the back and forth that mcconnell got in over the kentucky healthcare plan. he stumbled on it. didn't know what to say. that's about healthcare in kentucky. >> murphy? >> you can't get allison to admit who she voted for with the jaws of life machine. that's a disaster. when the president's numbers are down to 40%, broccoli is at 45. you will have a rejection. what they are trying to do -- i don't think it's working well, they are trying to make the election about some negative wedge issue. i believe that the thing is moving in a good republican direction because the national reject the president numbers. we have had a conga line of screwups. now we have ebola, which i think you have to be careful about politicizing it. it does become a narrative of incompetence. >> there does seem to be a line
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on ebola. of the debates, it seems as if the most telling moments -- the most telling may be the florida moment. if any debate has an impact on numbers right now it appears that's the one. >> that's right. crist was leading before the fan fiasco. >> not by much. >> republicans now kind of throwing in the towel knowing that this is something that voters will remember when a peculiar incident like that, a fan -- voters were just tuning in to the race. that's one of the things that they will end up remembering when they go to vote. >> my fear is that because of this -- of debate moments like that becoming potentially game changers that you will have more candidates refuse debates. >> in fact, that's the republican strategy for 2016 in the primaries. they have said that they aren't going -- >> afraid of moments. >> afraid of debates. the fan moment -- there's going to be another florida debate tuesday night. he has been bringing that fan for ten years.
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the fan has a twitter account. >> the fan won the debate. this next debate, nothing will happen. >> that's why he has a fan. i have a reform proposaproposal. ban staff from baits. governor scott was not served. >> do you think it might cost him the race? >> he has a chance in the next debate to reset it. it was a fumble. let's get the staff oust this and let them debate. fewer open mike night debates. >> you will get more time, i promise. coming up, addicted to running. some candidates oust prison and back on the campaign trail. >> the only way i can lose this race is -- >> if i got caught in bed with a dead woman or live boy. there was no chance of that happening. time for cnbc's executive edge week ahead brought to you by comcast business.
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>> if you have an iphone 6 and live in the u.s., you can start using it to pay for goods and services tomorrow when apple launches its mobile payment season. earnings in focus as a dozen dow components are scheduled to release. fears of slowing global growth and the ebola situation. fears of slowing global growth and the ebola situation. that's your cnbc executi will that be all, sir? thank you. ordering chinese food is a very predictable experience. i order b14. i get b14. no surprises. buying business internet, on the other hand, can be a roller coaster white knuckle thrill ride. you're promised one speed. but do you consistently get it? you do with comcast business. and often even more. it's reliable. just like kung pao fish. thank you, ping. reliably fast internet starts at $89.95 a month. comcast business. built for business. but at xerox we've embraced a new role. working behind the scenes to provide companies with services...
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politics is a profession very few walk away from willingly, and sure some senators the and congressmen who move on to lucrative lobbying careers, but boy, being out of office stings for these guys and the ache never goes a wway. so it is no wonder that so many attempt to make a comeback. i asked willie geist to spend some time with three colorful figures who have a real chance to make it back into office, and two of them in fact spent some time in the big house. >> reporter: this 87-year-old man is working the phones for vote votes. >> i'm one politician who knows how to deliver on the promises. you know me. governor edwards. >> reporter: that is edwards as in edwin edwards a congressional candidate who spent 16 years as governor of louisiana before spending 8 1/2 years in prison for racketeering. he is wone in a crop of candidates characters and all seeking political reredemption this fall. there is 76-year-old larry
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pressler out for the morning jog and stunning the political world as he is running neck in neck to win back the south dakota senate seat he lost in 1976. >> i have seniority and i can be a powerful senator for south dakota. >> reporter: but one person is not thrilled about the prospects of him going back to politic, his wife. >> she is not excited. >> reporter: and the legendary six-term providence mayor buddy cianci looking to return to city hall after a prison stent of five years for conspiracy to commit rack are tearing. >> i did my time. in this system of justice, you have a chance and i was sentenced and i did it, and i did it like a man. >> reporter: he was released from the federal gated community, the 76-year-old see yancey wants his job back, and holding court this night at a drag bingo game.
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b for buddy. >> reporter: why back in? >> a cle line in tdecline in th that is number one and i looked around and none of them have a vision, so u decided to run. >> reporter: he has the critics, but the poll shows that providence might get him out of a bad time. >> i got you out of the bad time in 1980. well, i'm glad that you remember it. >> reporter: even on the phone, everyone remembers edwin edward s. did that gentleman say that you helped him in 1980? >> yes. >> reporter: do you recall? >> no, but he was very grateful. >> reporter: and they are spending time catching up with voters who feel like old friends. edwards who many people in louisiana still call the governor and now has a 1-year-old son was first elected to congress 50 years ago. >> a lady asked me the the other day, you are 87 years old and retire and why don't you do what you feel like doing, and i said,
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l lady, that is what i feel like doing, running for congress. >> reporter: and he is not worried about the 8 1/2 years behind bars. >> i did nothing wrong and it had nothing to do with the politics, and nothing to do with my role as governor. >> reporter: but the justice system disagreed, but as we balk we walk around baton rouge, people agreed. >> he would be an excellent congressman. >> reporter: he has given american politics some of the most famous quotes like this one from the 1983 gubernatorial race. this is the most famous quote, the only way ki lose this race is -- >> if i got caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy, and you know what, there is no chance of that happening. >> willie is joining me now. and by the way, i know that he said that he did nothing time and nobody who serves times says that they were guilty. >> right. >> and there is some debate over the greatest quote the one there or the one in the 1991 race against david duke the grand
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wizard of the klan, and asked if he had anything in common with david duke and he said, we are both wizards under the sheets. >> and of the three, buddy cianci is the one most like ly o get back in office? >> yes. >> pressler even though he is neck and neck, he is likely to win, but the most likely is buddy cianci, and they say we don't need a 70-something guy out there who has been in jail running the city, but there is still some support. >> and he has his own marinara sau sauce. >> and without the squirrel, and the toupee that he so famously wore for so long. the toupee that he so famously wore for so long. that is for
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tsome cool things to pass onto wyour kids: your super heroes. that is for your fashion sense. your love of reading. your uncanny ability to find parking spots. your fear of people who are different? not so much, the more you know.
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welcome back. the panel is still here. we have our new nbc news wall street journal weekly tracking survey. andrea mitchell, ballot among likely voters, the biggest lead we reported for the republicans among -- this is the nbc wall street journal early in the week. it had 45-43, but among likely it went up to five. it was -- here is what i can tell you. it was a bad week for democrats. is it holding? >> it's a bad week to democrats.
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the white house has been under fire. our republican former partner in polling has said that it's the get out of vote effort and that democrats do a lot better at getting out the vote. it's going to come down to a ground game. i think that texas supreme court decision on saturday morning is going to be really telling, if there are more voter restrictions placed in some of those states, it's going to be really hard for democrats. >> your buddy is a republican strategist had this great quote this morning. government is failing. people are trapped in a room with obama and the democratic party. they want to get out of the room. the only door out leads them to a room full of lepers, the republican party. is he right? >> i'll be with him at the republican dinner this year. >> we will do well for free. people will reject the president. we will win republican states. the question is what do we do
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with it? 2016 is what counts. it's a tougher electoral, bigger turnout. we will have the power to talk about middle class economics and policy. if we don't, we will blow the republican opportunity. >> the obama get out of vote machine, is it going to show up? >> we're at the point where in this race where campaigns really matter. >> i feel like this whole year the campaigns have mattered more than we thought. >> the democratic campaigns at least. i can't speak tore what's going on incite the republican campaigns. the democratic campaigns have been really working and doing what they need to do. look at iowa. the mail-in ballots, a hugh percentage have voted. two to one of sporadic are voting for the democrat. independence by 25% are voting for the democrat. that's happening in races all over the country. i do think this is going to be a good year for republicans. you are going to gain seats. i think if there is going to be a tidal wave, we would see more of a movement by now.
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>> we would have seen it. i will get to what washington knows but isn't saying. in this case, it's about healthcare and the idea. we have seen the biggest false promise of the 24 midterm campaign has been about the affordable care act. listen to mitch mcconnell here. >> i want to -- if we had the ability to do it, we would. >> he is never going to have the ability. >> even if he gets the majority, it's 51/49. >> are republicans over promising? their base is going to expect to see that. >> it isn't going to happen. it's a sign of the challenges mcconnell is going to have if he becomes majority leader. he will have conservatives pushing very hard to do something on obamacare. then he will have a bunch of blue state republicans who are up for re-election in 2016 who will want no part of it. then, of course, you have a democrat in the white house and a very conservative house
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republican conference. how he threads that needle is going to be very, very difficult. i'm not sure he should want the march jurorty. >> i have heard, house republican leader say to me, for the first five things we pass and one is healthcare, we have failed. >> they don't want to go near it. why reopen that? they just want to figure out -- they haven't figured out yet what they want to throw up there. as veto bait to try to put the president on the defensive as quickly as possible. >> 15 seconds, murphy. she thuf come out with five things they were going to do with the majority? are they going to regret they didn't do that in. >> no. they will do it a week after the election. if they don't -- >> if they have since. >> if he they don't, they're in trouble. on wednesday, i will roll into kansas, iowa and wisconsin to meet the voters in the rv you saw earlier. if i come into your town, come say hi and share rv sightings.
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we will be back next week with stories from the road. 20 years of serving the underinsured healthcare people in arlington, virginia, well done. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." it is a pain that -- it doesn't go away. it eats away at you. it's a living agony. >> he said, "i don't know what happened, but your sister's gone."
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>> reporter: he kissed his wife goodbye in the morning. in the afternoon, she was dead. this devoted wife and mom, who would want to harm her? a random intruder? >> this was something that was more intimate. >> reporter: turned out, these smiling portraits didn't tell the whole story. >> there were a lot of things going on in that family that people never saw on the outside. >> reporter: what was really happening inside this seemingly ordinary suburban home? >> the detectives asked me if i had had sex with any other women. >> reporter: an unfaithful husband. but was that the motive for murder? police learned this case was far more complicated than that. and this mystery, not so easy to solve. >> she grabbed his throat. i don't think she realized what she was doing. >> he couldn't take it anymore, the entire situation. >> it was just heartbreaking. >> reporter: tonight, the troubling truth about the family next door. i'm lester holt and this is
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"dateline: behind closed doors." here's dennis murphy. >> reporter: it was a drippy friday morning, the start of memorial day weekend. bernie pyne usually took that day off from work for a welcome seasonal chore, getting the backyard pool cleaned-up, the unofficial start of summer at his family's home in michigan. he told his wife, ruth, it didn't make sense though, what with the weather. >> i remember that morning, i said, "hon, i'm not going to open the pool today. it's kind of soggy out there. there's no sense wasting a vacation day on a day reich this." >> reporter: so bernie took off for his job as a test engineer for a car manufacturer. >> i remember hugging her and kissing her goodbye. >> reporter: for ruth, his wife of 32 years, it was about to be her favorite time of year, summer in the backyard. >> one of ruth's favorite pastimes were tanning. she liked to be by the pool and tan. >> reporter: julia, their little 10-year-old, had school. jeffrey, their quite a bit older
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boy, 21, a college student, was hanging around the house before heading off for his part-time job. and that was the start of what should have been a nothing special day for the pyne family of highland, michigan. it would turn out to be, of course, nothing of the sort. that rainy friday was the end of everything they'd known. >> i picked up julia from school. we went to the back door like we always would. >> reporter: the back door was the side entrance to the garage. >> julia was first in the door. i was behind her. and she dropped her book bag and she said, "dad, mom, dad, mom! and i said, "which one of us do you want?" >> reporter: julia had opened the unlocked door. behind it was a leg and a hand covered in blood. >> and that's when we found ruth. >> reporter: bernie ran to a neighbor's to call 911. >> there's blood everywhere. can't figure out what's going on. >> sir, sir you got to calm down so i can understand you.
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>> reporter: when the emergency services people arrived they found ruth pyne, 51 years old, dead in a pool of blood. jeffrey was called home from work, and bernie broke the news. >> i told him that mom had died. tears welled up in his eyes. and he said, "what? no." he was upset. >> reporter: how'd you find out? >> bernie called me. and he said, "i don't know what happened, but your sister's gone." >> reporter: susan showerman is ruth's sister. >> and i just thought, "oh, my gosh. she committed suicide." >> reporter: suicide? to get some understanding why anyone would even think ruth could kill herself, we'll have to roll back the years and meet the pynes as they were. >> i don't think i've ever met anybody who's so unabashedly devoted to his wife. he'd go, "you know, i'm the luckiest guy in the world. i can't believe that she married me." >> reporter: carol and john stakoe have been friends with bernie and ruth for
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30 years. >> she felt fortunate to have bernie because, you know, bernie agreed that she should stay home with the children. >> reporter: the stakoe's daughters katherine and elizabeth spent time at the pynes, as girls and adored ruth. >> she was always there. play in the pool, she would sit and watch us. very attentive mother. she always had to make sure we were okay. >> reporter: and ruth welcomed guests to her table. >> we'd have dinners all the time, and ruth would always get something cute at, like, a craft store, and she'd put candy in it. >> she always made a home-cooked meal every night too. they didn't even have a microwave. >> reporter: the pyne's daughter julia was a bright, adorable work in progress. and their first-born, jeffrey, turned out to be just one of those golden kids, a star athlete and an excellent high school student, the kind parents brag about on their bumper stickers. >> talented, smart, charismatic. and i feel everyone felt that way about jeffrey. >> he's one of those people that you can always count on. >> reporter: and ruth was one of his biggest supporters. >> she never missed a basketball game.
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she was very involved as far as that and parent/teacher conferences. she would volunteer to go on field trips. >> reporter: but behind closed doors, the family was struggling with a private sorrow. when jeffrey was just eight, ruth began losing her grip. she'd go for days without sleep. she became reclusive, paranoid. a mental illness was taking hold. >> i'll never forget. i got home from work. she said, "i've got a tracking device in my bloodstream." and she really thought that she was being monitored. >> reporter: the family tried an intervention. sister susan knew that bernie was overwhelmed. >> he needed help to convince her that she needed to see a doctor. you know, maybe think about medication, that her thoughts weren't right. that something was wrong. >> reporter: this is tough. you're all sitting around, what? in the kitchen or in the -- at the table or -- >> in her living room. and she just got up and walked away. and she wasn't accepting it. she didn't believe she was ill.
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>> reporter: in 1998, bernie went to court to have his wife hospitalized. ruth stayed there for two weeks, then was released with orders to take her medication. >> ruth never wanted to take the medication. she would take it. and then she would go off of it. >> reporter: there were long stretches when she'd take her medications and things would be okay. but sooner or later, ruth would fall off the wagon. >> she would hide the medication under her tongue. bernie would leave for work, and then she would spit it out. >> reporter: by 2009, ruth was spiraling out of control. she'd been diagnosed as bipolar with psychotic features. bernie had her hospitalized three times over the next year. and had to call for police help in getting her there. refusing her meds, increasingly manic, ruth even lashed out at her 9-year-old daughter. >> ruth did not look well. and julia simply reached over to say, "mom, mom, are you all right?" and she actually swatted julia pretty hard on the hand. >> reporter: a year later it
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happened again with her son. it was early one morning. bernie had been pleading with his wife to take her medicine. she was still in bed. >> and she motioned her finger for me to come over there. and i leaned over, and she spit in my face. >> reporter: bernie saw that jeffrey's bedroom door was open, and called for his son to reason with his mother. >> and that's when she launched out of the bed at him and, you know, grabbed his throat and tried to hit him. >> reporter: bernie told jeffrey to call the police. his intent, he says, was simply to get the cops to take her to the hospital. instead they charged ruth with assault and put her in jail. her only way out was to take her meds. she refused, and spent 17 days behind bars before finally being sent to the hospital. but this time, after her release, the cycle appeared to be broken. ruth stayed on her meds. >> our home was actually in the best place that it had been in a long time. ruth was doing very well. >> reporter: her sister susan noticed the improvement, too.
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>> she was taking her medication. i noticed that in particular because i called her. and she was busy with dinner and she said, "i'll call you back." and i thought, "mmm, i don't know if she'll call me back." she called me back. and that was big. >> reporter: your sister's back? >> well, it was really exciting for me that she was talking to me. >> reporter: but just weeks after the sisters talked, on may 27th, 2011, came that awful sight -- ruth, behind that door. and the pyne family's tragedy was about to take a much darker turn. when investigators arrived at the garage, they determined this was no suicide, ruth pyne had been murdered. >> when a wife is murdered, you know who is usually the first suspect. when we come back, detectives decide that in this case, there's a good reason to take a hard look at her husband, bernie
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pyne. >> it definitely threw another cast on things. erybody knows th. well, did you know certain cartoon characters should never have an energy drink? action! blah-becht-blah- blublublub-blah!!! geico®. introducing the birds of america collection. fifty stunning, hand-painted plates, commemorating the state birds of our proud nation. blah-becht-blah- blublublub-blah!!! geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. try zyrtec-d® to powerfully clear your blocked nose and relieve your other allergy symptoms... so you can breathe easier all day. zyrtec-d®. find it at the pharmacy counter. zyrtec-d®. glathey can inspirethe mostand exhilarate.ings. make you smile. our 37 unique fragrances spark every emotion imaginable.
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>> reporter: when sheriff's deputies entered the garage at the pyne family home, they knew right away they were working a crime scene. the back of ruth pyne's head had been bashed in by multiple blows.
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there were more than a dozen stab wounds to the neck. it was a case of murder, and a violent one. veteran homicide officers like greg glover and david hendrick call savagery like this "overkill." >> it's something that involves a lot of rage. typically in homicides we don't see injuries to that magnitude. >> reporter: the intruder, for instance, the hypothetical intruder? >> yeah. what -- most of -- >> reporter: unlikely to inflict that kind of injury to a victim? >> very unlikely. yeah, this was something that was more intimate. there were no signs of forced entry of the home. the front door was locked. the home was not ransack. it was apparent that this was not a robbery-type situation. >> reporter: detectives did find one door in the house unlocked. the side-door entry to the garage. ruth was found sprawled there on the floor, the door tight against her wrist. it told detectives, whoever the killer was, he didn't leave that way. >> if her hand was laying there -- she was freshly killed. the blood on her hand is wet.
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-- for that door to have been opened up, someone leave, close the door back -- >> ah. >> -- and then open the door again when the daughter got home -- >> reporter: there would have been telltale swipe of fresh blood, caused by the door. >> you would have had swiping of the blood on her hand. >> reporter: and yet the front door, the only other way out, they thought, was dead-bolted shut. could the killer have had a key and locked it after he made his escape? it didn't seem logical if he was an intruder but then, of course, bernie pyne had a house key. was the husband, perhaps, the killer? >> typically, in these type of cases, it's normally somebody that's directly involved, somebody that's inside. >> reporter: so the night of the murder, the detectives talked to bernie and his son jeffrey ia routine interview. bernie was up first, and he told detectives about ruth's medical history. >> we talked about the mental illness. of course many of the police officers had been out to the house with medical pickups for ruth.
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>> reporter: but he says he was stunned when detectives revealed to him that his wife's death was a homicide. >> i could not believe, one, that ruth was dead, and two, that anyone would harm her. >> reporter: then, as the detectives questioning went on, bernie said something that piqued their interest. >> the detectives asked me if i had had sex with any other women besides my wife in the last six months. that immediately caused me to be uncomfortable because i had to answer yes to that question. and i gave them the details. >> reporter: live girlfriend, dead wife, not a good set of facts. >> no. it definitely threw another cast on things. i mean, as far as how the marriage was. >> reporter: does bernie become a suspect to you? >> absolutely. it did not appear that this was committed by a stranger. >> reporter: bernie says now that the stress of being ruth's caregiver drove him not only to threaten divorce, but also into the arms of a girlfriend. >> i couldn't take any more. i couldn't take battling over medication anymore.
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i couldn't take wondering what she was thinking, whether or not julia was going to be cared for well or if something was going to happen. >> reporter: ruth discovered the affair one night when she and her daughter walked into the same restaurant where bernie was having dinner with his girlfriend. the mistress broke off the affair. and, ironically, being caught red-handed that way, bernie says, not only saved his marriage but brought ruth around to taking her meds. >> ruth, i think, realized maybe that she had pushed me too far. and that's when she told me, she goes, "bernie, i will do anything to save my marriage and to save my family." and i said, "that means you will take your medication. and you'll let me watch you take it." >> reporter: but now his wife was dead and bernie was giving police an alibi, accounting for his time the afternoon his wife was murdered. >> bernie was at a restaurant with coworkers and friends. bernie gave us the times that he had left there, and that he had
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went to pick up his daughter, julia, like he always did. and to the point of when they arrived home. >> reporter: ruth's sister, susan, didn't believe bernie could possibly be involved. after her initial shock, she began to wonder whether some mental patient from ruth's trips in and out of hospitals over the years had developed an obsession with her. >> ruthie was so beautiful that i could see someone being infatuated with her. and she did give her address and phone number and things out to some people. so it wouldn't have been hard to find her. >> reporter: an interesting theory, maybe, but the detectives' experience with killings like this told them to first keep looking at people who knew ruth very well. >> coming up, police investigate ruth's family and friends including her son, jeffrey. >> everyone liked him. the teachers loved him. parents loved him. >> what did he know about his
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mother's death? when "dateline" continues.
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>> reporter: ruth pyne had been
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found beaten and stabbed to death in the garage of her home. the detectives had just interviewed her husband, bernie, and he knew his son jeffrey was up next. >> i knew that jeffrey didn't do this. my concern was that it didn't look good simply because ruth's mental illness painted a big target on both of us. >> reporter: jeffrey, 21, a biology major at the university of michigan, was the pyne's much admired son. he was once the valedictorian at his small christian academy where he excelled in just about everything. katherine stakoe was a close friend. >> everyone liked him. he got along with everybody. the teachers loved him. parents loved him. you know, it's like, every mom's dream kid to date their daughter. >> reporter: jeffrey was a role model for his friend, steven kreig. >> he just was one of those guys that he was intelligent beyond his years, i think. he was the kind of person that -- i don't really know who didn't look up to him. >> reporter: as he was
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interviewed by detectives, jeffrey was the polite, respectful young man everyone knew him to be. he had an unblemished record. >> our goal here is to figure out what happened. >> reporter: he told detectives about his day -- that he was home alone, until his mother came back from grocery shopping around 11:30. a little later, he recalled, she went upstairs to lie down. he left the house, he said, about 1:30. >> there was no altercation, or your mom was not upset or anything today before you left? >> no. she was fine. >> reporter: at this point, all jeffrey had been told about his mother was that she was dead, not that she'd been murdered. the son continued his account of the afternoon, heading out for the first of two part-time jobs. >> and your mom was upstairs, in bed when you left? >> yes, i told her i was going to the lady's house. >> reporter: the lady's house was mrs. needham's, a former teacher jeffrey did yard work and chores for. >> what all did you do over there today? >> i went over there,
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transplanted her lilacs and -- >> how many did you transplant, you know? >> five. >> reporter: and after he left mrs. needham's, he said he went to his second job at spicer orchards. he clocked in there around 3:00 pm. as they were speaking, the detectives noticed jeffrey's hands were bandaged. >> what's wrong with your hands? >> this was from work today. >> reporter: he scraped his hands at the orchard, he said, when he tried to pick up a wooden pallet. the detective took pictures of the injuries and then asked jeffrey to explain in detail how he got them. >> i picked it up like this. i used my foot to kind of give it a boost because there was a stack of palettes. so i gave it a boost and my hand got caught in there. and it just kind of stuck. and i caught it and i just kind of shoved it back on there. and it stung really bad, pulled my hands out quick. >> did it pull the skin off of your hand? >> yeah, it tore it up. >> the whole time i'm thinking that there's just no way that's
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possible. >> reporter: the detectives were now just as interested in the son with the raw, blistered hands, as they were with the father who had admitted to an affair. and they became even more interested as they watched jeffrey's reaction to the disclosure of the brutal truth about his mother. >> your mom was murdered. someone killed your mom. so if there's anything else that you know about that you've been holding back, that you were afraid to tell us, now's the time. okay? >> i don't know what to tell you. >> it was a -- >> i don't know of anyone who would want to hurt her. >> reporter: jeffrey claimed to know nothing about his mother's death. but, oddly, they thought, he never did ask the detectives just what had happened to his mother. >> he never asked us one question at all about his mother during the entire interview ever.
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what person wouldn't ask something, anything, if you had just been told a loved one was killed? unless you knew the answers. >> reporter: the detectives then moved on to talk about his mother's arrest for assaulting jeffrey the year before. >> she came at me. she launched out of the bed and grabbed me by the throat and, like, started hitting me and stuff. but, i mean, she didn't hurt me or anything. >> was she upset with you because she ended up in jail for the amount of time that she was there? >> no. i don't have a problem with my mom. never had a problem with her. the only issue i had was i wanted her to take medicine. and she -- nature of the illness, she didn't want to take it. >> reporter: then jeffrey echoed what his father and aunt were saying. in recent months things were getting better. >> yeah. i mean, she would come to my dad and show him, "see," like, "i'm taking my pills," every night. >> reporter: the questions
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continued for over an hour, until the detectives asked the inevitable, provocative one. >> did you do anything today at all to hurt your mom? >> no, no. >> in any way, shape or form? >> nothing. >> did you have any arguments with your mom today? >> no. i didn't say anything hurtful to her. i did nothing. >> you have no idea who would? >> i have no idea who would. i can't even -- >> because somebody did. >> i'm having a hard enough time. >> reporter: so father and son's stories were now on the record. each had given reasons why the detectives should keep looking at both. >> coming up, with no witnesses and no weapon, investigators cast a wide net in the search for a killer. >> we're looking at any suspect information such as this mysterious person that had been seen cutting through the neighborhood to the landscaping
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crew to a former workman. come on! let's hide in the attic. no. in the basement. why can't we just get in the running car? are you crazy? let's hide behind the chainsaws. smart. yeah. ok. if you're in a horror movie, you make poor decisions. it's what you do. this was a good idea. shhhh. be quiet. i'm being quiet. you're breathing on me! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. head for the cemetery!
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>> reporter: in the days and weeks following the murder of ruth pyne, detectives say they scoured the area for both suspects and a ditched weapon. >> we canvassed the neighborhood. even as far as to drain the pool looking for a possible weapon. we searched the yard. we had officers talking to neighbors. >> reporter: the sheriff's tip line was ringing. >> we're looking at any suspect information that we get from any source. such as this mysterious person that had been seen cutting through a neighborhood, to the landscaping crew, to this former workman. any time anybody gives us anything, we're running it down. and we were able to clear those things. >> reporter: so they put together what they had. a family dealing with mental illness. a mother bludgeoned to death. a spouse who had been unfaithful.
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a son with injuries to his hands. and something else detectives noticed the night they interviewed jeffrey. coming up on "early today," some actually good news on ebola to report along with the pentagon strike force being assembled to fight the deadly virus. another nfl record is shattered, but by peyton manning. a dad is pulled fm a burning home. and surfers brave for the action. it is monday, october 20th. "early today" starts right now. well, good morning on this monday. thanks for joining you i'm betty ng. wee do have fast-moving developments on the efforts to contain ebola, but first, a new


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